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This was a private hospital, run by a wonderful doctor who terrorized his staff. As gentle as he was with the patients, as tough as he was with his staff. I could always tell when he arrived on the floor where my room was. Just before his arrival the alarm would go on that he is on his way up. Scurrying feet, panicked whispers, and to herald his actual arrival, the crash of a tray as he shoots it out of the hands of a waiting nurse because there was something missing or he didn’t like the arrangement of the tools on it.
To me he was the gentlest, kindest man ever. Very patient and very caring. But what I did not like about his visits was the fact that he always had 5 or 6 interns trailing after him. So every morning when he came to look in on me, examine my wounds and monitor my progress, I felt like I was on show, an exhibit. There is absolutely no dignity in being sick. The first thing to go was modesty. I was totally naked under the hospital gown which they insisted I should wear as it gave them easy access in an emergency. When the doctors came in ( which I dubbed the tartar invasion) هجوم التتار the first thing to go was that gown. I am sure had I met any of those interns after recovery, and was fully clothed, they would not recognize me.
I remember the doctor who was monitoring my eye. One day he came in to examine my sight. He asked me to tell him if there was any difference which I could see. He held up his right hand, then held up his left hand. I said yes. He looked really worried, and asked what the difference was, and I said one was right and the other left. I think he wanted to strangle me!
The nurses too were very good. Besides the one who saved my life, they assigned the senior nurses to my case as nursing was the key to my recovery. I remember one of them, looked like a terror, and she was to the junior nurses, but she had the gentlest hands ever, when she was bathing me or changing my bandages. Another was the naughtiest of all. A good looking girl who was flirting outrageously with all the night shift interns.
Then there were the cleaners, and the woman who distributed the newspapers and the magazines. It was a whole world, one that I got to know pretty well after spending nearly a month there.
Towards the end of my stay at the hospital, the doctors realized that I couldn’t move my right arm. My lovely, kind, head doctor came in to examine me, for once without the entourage. He took my arm in his gentle hands, and in one swift twist, moved it all the way up, tearing all the muscles that had atrophied. I fainted. He immediately sent me the physiotherapist who was with me for the following seven months, till my arm came back to normal.
This experience left me with a few very hard lessons. How your mind needs to cope when you are imprisoned in your broken body. How to depend on your inner strength because nobody can help you get through the tough times except with what you have within you. How important people are, how kind and loving they could be when you need them. And finally, precious, wonderful life could be taken from you in the blink of an eye, so cherish every minute, don’t waste any.
I had spent 28 days in hospital, seven months in physiotherapy, and the rest of my life being grateful to God for his mercy and love, for caring for me, curing me completely and giving me the wisdom to benefit from that experience.
To be continued .. The Aftermath